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“Victoria’s Most Haunted” Gets A New Book by Ian Gibbs!

7 May

51nsewsef1l-_sx322_bo1204203200_By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Presentation at Bolen Books 
1644 Hillside Ave #111
on May 9, 7pm

Many long-time residents of Victoria, British Columbia will not dispute the fact that this garden city is haunted. More ghosts are said to spook specific streets here, and most of the downtown core and neighbouring districts are covered in Ian Gibb’s debut book, “Victoria’s Most Haunted.”

From bars to homes to restaurants and schools, this variety of sites is welcome. A few places are missed — some of which I had the fortune to check out during my time with PARAVI, a local paranormal investigative society (understandably not mentioned in the book because it’s no longer in operation) — but to get every story crammed in means obtaining permission not only from the group but also from the current business operators to talk about them.

I have found The Ghost Story Guy‘s collection (his handle in this paranormal pop culture business) to be a concise look at places both familiar and not. Gibbs has the Sixth Sense. While he does not use it to communicate with the spirit world, he can feel the energies out and describe what the mojo is like. I am thrilled his book covers a few new places previous publications have not. At least to my knowledge, not many new stories made it to print in the last 12 or so years. I heard of a few through the news, namely a photo of a supposed face materializing down a flight of stairs at Hatley Castle, but I did not spot anything when the image was published.

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Gibbs recounts recent activities and his brushes with the occult world with a narrative style that’s easy to visualize, and his personal account of his time working at Christ Church Cathedral School is this book’s highlight.

I smiled when I read his entry about the Young Building (Camosun College) because he included my own experiences there. This book is great by including historical notes in some chapters. This school’s most iconic building was built in 1913 and it was used as a normal school in the early years before being turned to a hospital. Of course, its purpose was changed in later years. Although Gibbs did not include the just-as-haunted Richmond House at the Lansdowne campus, because the ability to track down and talk to witnesses is not always easy, the accounts from staff to student shows he wants different perspectives. I related to him what I heard when I did my research for my college paper’s Halloween issue and had at least four experiences during my education here; half of which I’d say could easily be logically explained away. For those places that do not want to be listed, I’m sure the missing entries, like any mention of Doris Gravlin at the Victoria Golf Course, are considered overdone in comparison to Craigdarroch Castle, where the museum operators prefer to acknowledge the building is not haunted despite what witnesses say.

I became interested in the paranormal back in my early teens, but when cliques were the mainstays and the subject was not often openly talked about, I did not want to heavily advertise my interest. For this hobby, all the groups (even back then) exist to achieve the same goals and to say one gang is better than another always bugged me. Each club can use different methodologies, but when it decides to put on exhibitions, like “public ghost hunts,” I often wonder if the organization is simply offering circus-style entertainment for the curious or hoping proof of an afterlife will manifest when more witnesses are present to validate it? For the latter, a collective imagination wanting manifestation to happen can sway the results. Personal experiences make for better tales and Gibbs is wise to say, “The stories are meant to entertain, and neither the publisher nor the author claim that these stories represent fact. Additionally, it is not the author’s intention to influence anyone’s beliefs; instead, the author’s wish is that these stories will inspire, thrill, delight, and comfort.”

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Short of going to Britain, which has centuries of history and scarier tales of terror to go by, this corner of the Pacific Northwest has plenty for purveyors of this paranormal subculture to enjoy. True to the genre (i.e. in what you see on a few televised programs), Gibbs’ book is heavy on places readers can visit and yet include a few inaccessible places. The variety of tales he tells is excellent!

As for what is next from this author, I can see him embarking on a haunted road trip to examine all of Vancouver Island. Who knows, perhaps a look at Mount Tzouhalem near Duncan and Beban House in Nanaimo are next? Up in Northern Vancouver Island, the natural spring Devil’s Bath (located in Alice Lake Park) suggests some kind of dark history. To discover that past requires talking to locals to distinguish what is fact from the folklore. The Forbidden Plateau within Strathcona Park has a past I’m very interested in! It’s supposed to be haunted by first nations people and these are the type of stories best heard by the campfire. In the meantime, I’ll happily read “Victoria’s Most Haunted” by the shimmering light of the fireplace one more time.

Rating He-Man & The Masters of the Universe Compendium

19 Apr

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Everything you ever wanted to know about He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (MoTU and She-Ra too) can be found in A Character Guide and World Compendium (available to preorder on Amazon), due to hit shelves May 10th. This voluminous tome is perfectly organized into sections to make finding information quick, and the fact the entries are further subdivided, based on either the toy-line, comics or animated series, makes for a great way for fans of this franchise to keep the facts straight!

Of course, I had to read the entry for Skeletor and The Sorceress right away. The sheer amount of information found for these two is staggering, and I love the dedication the research team put forth to collect images from various sources (including foreign adaptations) and photograph (i.e. the toys) to include. Even though some of the information can be found online at a wiki source, there’s something to this atlas which makes for a great conversation piece among nerds. The bonus of ownership is that this codex is reasonably priced.

While it will take time to read through all the entries in prep before a game of MoTU Trivial Persuit, I’m ready!

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Getting the Most out of Life with Some Bunny Loves You – Tour Dates & Interview

5 Apr

jesse thomBy Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Jesse Thom is a talented performer who not only recently published his debut children’s book, Some Bunny Loves You, but also is a busy musician. He’s a member of a few bands and also a solo artist. The Honey Tongues is a gypsy, folk-rock alternative group and Daemon & Airdrie is an electronic musical duo. Between the various types of shows he performs in as he travels the breadth of North America and beyond, life can be stressful. He’s a meditation coach who also needs time to relax. Sometimes, all it takes is a return to basics, to a time when he found peace, or rather with a creation which helped set him on a creative path.

From April 7th to May 22nd, he will be like a Traveling Wilbury, taking his puppet show (based on his book) through parts of Vancouver Island and the Greater Vancouver Mainland area before hitting the musical stage and performing behind the curtain again. Stops include the Garden City of Victoria to which he is from and details can be found on his website. I’m willing to bet a break will still be needed for this performer to re-energize like a particular battery bunny mascot before he embarks on another musical odyssey.

“As with any success, I’m just going to honour the path that forms,” revealed Thom, “I listen to my heart, and listen what the audience wants and I provide what seems to be wanted and needed.”

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Ed’s Dark Horse News from Emerald City Comicon & Picks for Feb, March & June

8 Mar

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

I’ve been thinking about nothing but the 15th anniversary of Emerald City Comicon (ECCC) since last month and was very excited to see what Dark Horse Comics has plans on announcing this year. In addition to the artist and writer signings and giveaways at the show, there’s something always cool to be found when walking by! Had I gone to the main exhibit hall early in the morning, I might have walked away with a yellow tote bag, but alas, I was in another building awaiting photo ops with a few of this show’s entertainment guests.

Fortunately, I did not miss meeting artist Irene Koh (she’s illustrating the upcoming official Legend of Korra continuation due in shelves Jun 7) and writer Gene Luen Yang (Avatar: Last Airbender). I’ve been buying everything Avatar related this company puts out and plan on a huge binge-read. While waiting in line, I can only smile at how much of a strong fan base this series has, especially amongst the Asian community.

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Also, I got to see Mike Mignola again and learn he’s working on a new work. The Visitor: How and Why He Stayed is out and it takes place in the Hellboy universe. While the stories about the title character are finished, thankfully there’s more to enjoy in this realm from other perspectives. One hope I had is to see all the Hellboy stories packaged together in an omnibus collection; sadly the representative said there are no immediate plans. The collections we have now is it for those preferring the trade paperback route. My mix of one-shots and owning certain storylines sometimes gets me lost as to where each story fits in.

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